Rabies in Red Foxes (Vulpes vulpes) Experimentally Infected with European Bat Lyssavirus Type 1

Vos, A.; Müller, Thomas GND; Neubert, L.; Zurbriggen, A.; Botteron, C.; Pöhle, D.; Schoon, H.; Haas, L.; Jackson, A.

Summary The susceptibility of red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) to European bat lyssavirus type 1 (EBLV-1) infection was examined. Eight foxes were inoculated intramuscularly (i.m.) with 10(4.9) foci-forming units (FFU) (n = 4) and 10(5.1) FFU (n = 4) and observed for up to 90 days. All foxes showed manifestations of a neurologic disorder (e.g. seizures, myoclonus, agitation), starting as early as 5 days post-infection (p.i.). Subsequently, all animals showed improvement followed by one or more relapses. One fox was killed 3 days after it recovered, 26 days post-infection. Two other foxes were also killed 38 and 54 days post-infection after severe neurologic signs returned. All foxes developed a humoral immune response against EBLV-1 as determined in serum and brain tissues. However, no rabies virus antigen was detected in the brain, other tissues and secretions examined (e.g. salivary gland, saliva, tonsils, lungs) by using different standard diagnostic techniques [fluorescent antibody test, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), rabies tissue culture inoculation test], with the exception of one fox in which EBLV-1 RNA was detected by RT-PCR in only the spinal cord. Brain tissues showed moderate to severe multifocal, mononuclear encephalomyelitis in the three foxes that were killed during the observation period, although no EBLV-1 virus was detectable in these tissues

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Vos, A. / Müller, Thomas / Neubert, L. / et al: Rabies in Red Foxes (Vulpes vulpes) Experimentally Infected with European Bat Lyssavirus Type 1. 2004.

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